Preparing for Parallel London

Monique by Monique
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Ever since I grew out of pushchairs I’ve used a wheelchair to get around, being pushed by my ever-heroic mum (with occasional cameo performances by other family & friends). It sounds like a great, luxurious lifestyle, but sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of independence, as I’m sure you’d agree. Plus, being a passenger in a wheelchair when your sister takes a sharp right turn in the supermarket and “accidentally” tips you over in the soft drinks aisle… well that’s not so fun either.

After my grandad passed away he left me some money to buy myself some independence - enter my brand new, manual wheelchair! I picked it out myself, in a fierce metallic fire purple. I was so excited to get out and use it, pushing myself around plus building some killer biceps. But as it turned out, I wasn’t quite ready to take on the world in my brand new chair, and it became a very accomplished clothes-horse in my hallway. And then it got a flat tyre.

Fast-forward five years to about two months ago, when I felt ready to try it again. We got that tyre fixed up, brushed off the dust (so much dust), popped on the “L” plates and I was good to go. However, much like driving, pushing around your own wheelchair takes some practice before you’re road-ready; funnily enough, people don’t appreciate being hit in the ankles by my wheels when they’re innocently trying to buy milk!

I never expected all of the obstacles that come from using a wheelchair - even something as simple as opening a door, or buying a newspaper comes with its own challenges. I had no idea how to start learning these things. And that’s how I came across Whizz-Kidz.

Whizz-Kidz provides Wheelchair Skills Training sessions that teach children and young people how to get around the day to day obstacles they will encounter in their wheelchairs. This gives young people like me a chance to gain confidence in a wheelchair, and see the possibilities of independence, in a safe environment.

When I saw that they were an official charity partner of Parallel London 2016, I decided that it would be a great challenge to practice using my wheelchair, build up my fitness, meet other Whizz-Kidz ambassadors, and ultimately get bragging rights to say I’ve done a 10km push/run!

It’s such a worthy cause, and it’s a rare opportunity for me to be able to take part in a fully inclusive charity sporting event (and get those killer biceps I’ve always dreamed of!).

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